Cripple Creek Fire Department

Cripple Creek Fire Department (CCFD), covering 54 square miles in Teller County (Colorado) including the areas of Cripple Creek Ranches, Gillette, Midland, Mt. Pisgah, Pike National Forest, Pisgah Park, West Beaver Creek & West Fork Creek. (FDID #11905)

Cripple Creek Fire Department was founded in 1893 when the  J.A. Whitting Engine Company No. 1 moved from Freemont to Cripple Creek and became the Cripple Creek Fire Department. Following the move, the Cripple Creek Hook & Ladder was formally organized with the election of officers. Three miles of water main and fifty-three fire plugs were installed. the water main installation resulted in J.A. Whitting Engine Company No. 1 becoming the Whiting Volunteer Hose Company. Success of this hose company led to the creation of J.L. Lindsay Volunteer Hose Company and the R.P. Davie Volunteer Hose Company. By 1896, the city boasted a population of 16,000 residents and the Cripple Creek Volunteer Fire Department had grown to 175 members. The all-volunteer department operated three hose companies: Cripple Creek (Central Fire Station), Davie House House & Lindsey Hose House) and a hook and ladder company.

On April 25th, 1896 a fire wiped out nearly half of the city. The fire department used mining explosives to blow up buildings in the fire’s path in hopes of stopping the progression of destruction. The fire departments of Victor Volunteer Fire Department, Florence Fire Department, Colorado Springs Fire Department and Denver Fire Department dashed to the city’s aid, but there was little that could be done.   Information provided by Cripple Creek Fire Department. The fires of 1896 are now referred to as the Cripple Creek Fires. The second change was the formation of a paid fire department. The city council met and determined that a paid fire department was a worthwhile investment in the future of the area, and the fire chief and 11 firefighters were hired as paid. By 1920 only 40 of the 500 mines were left in the Cripple Creek District. The population had decreased from 55,000 to 2,300, and many buildings were abandoned and left vacant. WWI caused a nationwide shortage in building materials. Many buildings in Cripple Creek were disassembled and shipped out of the district via rail. The reduced size of the City’s geographical area and tax base resulted in the city disbanding the majority of their services.

In 1920, the Cripple Creek Fire Department was forced to lay-off all paid personnel. The department once again operated with all volunteers and took the name Cripple Creek Volunteer Fire Department. In 1993 paid staff returned to the fire department. Two paid firefighters were added per shift, and the organization was once again known as the Cripple Creek Fire Department. A reserve firefighter program was added in 2009. This program provides paid, part-time employees who assist with staffing needs. As the reserve firefighter program grew, the number of volunteers began to shrink. In 2010, the volunteer program was disbanded, and the department transitioned to an all paid department. 

Cripple Creek Fire Department has auto-aid and / or mutual-aid agreements with Cripple Creek  & Victor (CC&V) Mine Rescue Team, Divide Fire Protection District, 4 Mile Fire Protection District & Victor Volunteer Fire Department.

 

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